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Thunder Ready For Inaugural Hockey Season
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The Stockton Thunder professional hockey team has released its schedule for the 2005-2006 ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) regular season, ready to play in the new Stockton Arena downtown.

The team, which moved here from Atlantic City, will play its first ever regular season game against the Fresno Falcons at the Save Mart Center in Fresno on Oct. 22, 2005. The Thunder will play host to Fresno on Dec. 3, when they open their home season in Stockton.

The Thunder is one of three new teams playing in the ECHL this season, joining the league with the Utah Grizzlies, formerly of the American Hockey League, and the Phoenix Roadrunners.

The Thunder will begin the season with a 13-game road trip, which is the longest starting road stretch in the ECHL. Twenty-seven of the team's 36 home games this inaugural season will be played on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Starting time for Sunday games has been tentatively set for 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. for all others.

The ECHL opens its 18th season on Oct. 21 with 27 teams in 16 states and British Columbia. For more information on the new team in Stockton, call 948-3322 or visit